The History of Otsego, NY 
Laurens Churches

By Holice and Debbie



Churches and Lodges


The Presbyterian Church of Laurens was organized on the 16th of January, 1844, with the following first trustees, viz.: Erastus Crafts, Levi S. Chatfield. Chauncey Strong, Hudson Sleeper, James F. Dean, Harvey Strong, Daniel D. Comstock, Martin Bridges, and J. Harrison Baker. The first pastor of the church was Rev. E. Vine Wales, who received and accepted a call to become the pastor July 9, 1844.

The present church building occupied by the society was originally erected as a union church by the Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists.

General Crafts, who manifested a great interest in matters concerning the church, purchased the share of the church owned by the Methodists and Baptists, with the intention of giving them to the Presbyterian society. Before this project was consummated General Crafts died, but his purposes were carried out by his heirs, who gave to the society a deed of the property. The church has enjoyed a long season of usefulness, and is now in a prosperous condition, and is under the pastoral care of Rev. Hiram W. Lee. The present trustees are John Smith, Hudson Sleeper, and S. S. Elwell. The following have served this church as pastors from its organization to the present time: Rev. E. V. Wales, commenced preaching Feb. 7, 1844, closed May 6, 1855; Rev. H. Herrick, commenced preaching June 3, 1855, and closed May, 1857; Rev. Wm. Baldwin preached three years; Rev. E. V. Wales, Commenced May 1, 1862, and served three years; Rev. R. A. Clark, commenced his services in 1866, and served three years; Rev. H. W. Lee, present pastor, commenced Sept. 1, 1871. Present elders, Samuel Harrison and Albert Benedict.


The first Methodist Episcopal Church of Laurens was organized at Jacksonville, Nov. 29, 1837. The first church edifice was built in the summer of 1838, under the direction of the following trustees, viz.: Auren Wilcox, Caleb Armstrong, Dennis Barnard, Henry Mosher, and Henry Keyes. The church building has since been improved by the addition of a steeple and basement. The following were members at the time the church was built: Auren Wilcox, Thompson Keyes, henry Mosher, Caleb Armstrong, Elisha Armstrong, Benjamin Green, James Eaton, Erastus Gardner, Robert Templeton, Judson Gardner, Willis E. Gardner, Daniel Boe, Asabel Brooks, Joshua Dulay, Adam G. Bratt, John L. Keyes, Betsey Wilcox, May Keyes, Diantha Mosher, Betsey Armstrong, Ponind Armstrong, Martha Boe, Mary Brooks, Sally L. Eaton, Betsey Green, Miss Duley, Miss Bratt, and Catherine Kenyon. Elder Calvin Hawley organized the first church, and held his meetings in the district school-house at Jacksonville until the edifice was built, which cost $950. Addition of steeple, bell, and basement cost about $2,000. Size of first building, 31 X 44 feet; the size of house after repairs, 31 by 54 feet. The name of the present pastor is A. J. Cook. The trustees at this date are Seth A. Gardner, henry Van Beuren, Landen King, Peter Couse, Daniel Wilber. The present number of members is 115.


Baptist Church, Mount Vision was organized June 4, 1844, by Rev. Seth Gregory, of New Lisbon, with the following members, viz.: Joshua Matterson, Jacob Bunn, Jane Bunn, Ephraim Mann, Lydia Mann, Ira Kenyon Hannah Kenyon Thomas tiffany, Sally tiffany, Phebe Wright, Nancy Brooks, Sarah Stevens, Lemuel C. Pettingill, Mary G. Pettingill, James R. Fitch, Lydia Fitch, Jonathan Card, Polly Card, Fanny Sweet, Julia Cutler, Polly Templeton, Polly Kenyon, Isaiah C. Wright, Rosanna Wright, Samuel Mack, Mary Mack, Louisa Wright, Clementina Wright, Lucina Wright, Harry Gregory, Harriet Gregory, Hannah Foulston (dismissed by letter while a branch), Sally Kenyon, Lucy Newell, Orson J. Crane, Amanda Bowdish, Martha Aspinwall, Maria Mann, A. Mann, Susannah Clark, Alonzo Matterson, Nathaniel Matterson, Abijah Matterson, Asa Gardener, Nancy Gardener, Cynthia Clarke, David Snedaker, Sally Zimry, and Almira Mead.

The first officers were as follows, viz.:

Deacons James R. Fitch, and Nathaniel Matterson.


Asa Gardener, Nathaniel Matterson, Jesse B. Kenyon, and Peleck Sweet.
Clerk James R. Fitch.

The first pastor was Rev. Lemuel C. Pettingill. Soon after the organization of the society measures were adopted for the erection of a church edifice, which was built in 1844, and dedicated in February, 1845, Rev. Mr. Westcott preaching the sermon. The church building is 36 by 50 feet in size, and cost about $3000; it was subsequently repaired and remodeled at a cost of about $3000.

The following have served the church as pastors from its organization to the present time, viz.:

Rev. Lemuel C. Pettingill

Eight years

Rev. John Smith

Six years

Rev. Seth Gregory (supply)

Six months

Rev. Abner Maynard

Three years

Rev. George R. Burnside

Ten years

Rev. Robert Babcock

Nearly two years

Rev. P. C. Bently(Killed)

Nearly two months

Rev. James D. Webster

Present pastor

The present membership of the church is one hundred and twenty-seven persons. The present officers are as follows:


Mathew Robinson and Isaiah D. Wright


A. Robinson, George Robinson, M. Gregory, E. E. Reals, Arnold Carr


Dr. Dwight Kenyon


The Christian Church of Laurens was organized Dec. 24, 1836, by Charles I. Butler, with the following members; Rufus Steere, Eliza Ann Steere, Esther L. Steere, Rial Briggs, Margaret Briggs, Isaac G. Briggs, Polly Briggs, Abigail Strait, Martha Aspinwall, Philo Fenton, Delos Carpenter, William N. Clark. The first church building was erected in 1837, at a cost of about $800.

The following have officiated as pastors of the church: William Roberts, E. G. Holland, ---------Hitchcock, J. Ellis, Kingsley Walker, -------- Stearns, -------Taylor, ---------Walker, Charles E. Peake, Henry Brown, Allen Hayward, William H. Humphreys, G. A. Beebe, present pastor. The church has membership of thirty-one persons.


We understand that there is a prosperous Methodist church located in the village of Laurens, and although we have made repeated requests for its history, and have as often received a reply from Rev. Benjamin Ripley, stating that he would send data, he failed to do so.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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